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G8: Activists Being Monitored - Border Controls Considered reports Scotsman

mediawatch | 13.02.2005 19:39 | G8 2005 | Anti-militarism | Globalisation | Repression | London

Scotsman roundup of security measures re G8 Summit in July 05 - including assertion by Tayside Chief Constable that "known activists" were already being "monitored" by "undercover officers" both in the UK and mainland Europe, and that police are "talking to the Crown about a range of issues... ...including restricting access to Scotland". John Vine, the Chief Constable of Tayside Police said: "In extreme situations we may apply to prevent entry into Scotland".

The Scotsman: Police plan tightest-ever security for Gleneagles G8 summit
Sat 12 Feb 2005

PICTURE: A Protester tries to engage riot police in Geneva on 1 June 2003. Demonstrations against the G8 turned violent later that day.
Picture: Ian Waldie/ Getty Images

AN UNPRECEDENTED operation to secure Scotland’s ports, airports and roads will swing into action in July to prevent anarchist protesters reaching the G8 summit at Gleneagles, according to the policeman in charge of the security operation.

John Vine, the Chief Constable of Tayside Police and the senior officer tasked with co-ordinating the largest security operation in Scottish history, told The Scotsman that known activists were already being monitored by undercover officers at home and abroad.

He also revealed that thousands of officers on duty during the July summit could be used to form a barrier at the five-star resort amid concerns that dedicated protesters will attempt to breach the site to disrupt the meeting of world leaders including Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and George Bush.

Civil rights campaigners have warned the police that they will be closely monitoring any attempts to restrict the movement of protesters during the build-up to the historic event, which is expected to bring parts of Scotland to a complete halt.

Mr Vine told The Scotsman: "We are obviously keen on identifying who might want to come to Scotland with the intention of not protesting peacefully.

"What we are currently doing is discussing with the Crown Office and the Procurator-Fiscal Service, who are responsible for prosecution policy, to ascertain what measures we can take against people intent on causing trouble.

"We are talking to the Crown about a range of issues in relation to application of the law, including restricting access to Scotland. In extreme situations we may apply to prevent entry into Scotland. As this is a reserved power this is a matter for the Home Office but would include interception at airports and ports."

Mr Vine suggested that a physical perimeter will be established around Gleneagles before the summit opens.

"We are aware that establishing a perimeter around Gleneagles is a huge challenge," he said. "We are looking to have a physical barrier, whether it is a fence or a ring of police officers, has yet to be decided. It does involve a huge number of resources because of the nature of the terrain. We are talking thousands of officers. The most important thing is we need to take steps to ensure what might be considered a terrorist target doesn’t become so and also focus on the threat of violent disruption."

Despite the widespread contingency plans, Mr Vine conceded that concerns that major trouble could accompany the event were very real. He said: "I can’t give a cast-iron guarantee that there won’t be trouble and I don’t think anyone would expect me to. There are clearly concerns about disorder which could be caused by anarchist groups getting to the venue and making their presence felt.

"We know from our intelligence that there is a lot of activity and there may be large numbers of protesters at Gleneagles, but that’s not to suggest they won’t be peaceful. We have to be led by the intelligence picture and keep a level head.

"We have a real obligation to facilitate peaceful protest and the policing of this event has to be a fine balance between preventing trouble and allowing members of the public to express their opinions. Everyone thinks of Genoa and Seattle and what happened there and we accept there could be problems, but we have contingency plans to deal with it."

As with previous summits, thousands of protesters are expected to descend on Scotland from around the world.

It is widely believed that parts of central Edinburgh will be turned into virtual no-go areas in the biggest police operation ever mounted in Scotland.

Police are expected to lock down a campus around the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to protect both buildings from the thousands of demonstrators who will descend on the capital for the summit. They will also set up cordons around major landmarks such as the Forth Road Bridge and Edinburgh Castle.

Security at Edinburgh Airport, the main point of entry for the world leaders and the demonstrators, will be the tightest in its history and senior police officers will liaise with customs officers.

But the Tayside Chief Constable said he believed protest will not be restricted to the cities: "Some protesters will target Gleneagles itself and obviously we will be trying to ensure that no breaches occur. Within a democracy these people have a right to let their views be known but we will come down on them hard if they step outwith the law. It is our job to protect people’s property and well-being in the Gleneagles and Auchterarder area.

He added: "At the moment it is fair to say there are known troublemakers in the UK and Europe that we are currently looking at, as well as a number of individuals in Scotland itself."

A massive protest march has been organised for the capital for 2 July, the weekend before the G8 gathering on 6 to 8 July. Police had hoped that the march might help dissipate some of the protests planned for the following week in Perthshire, but organisers of the main protest have planned a series of rallies at Faslane, Dungavel and Edinburgh, which will turn the demonstration into a week-long event, leading up to the summit itself.

Early estimates put the numbers expected to descend on Edinburgh at 100,000 to 150,000 but police now believe that could rise to 200,000 and plans are in place to draft in thousands of officers from all over the country to cope.

Senior police officers have repeatedly warned of the threat of extremist violence and have shown MSPs footage of the riots in Genoa in Italy and Evian, France, which accompanied recent G8 summits elsewhere in Europe. The riots in Genoa in 2001 ended with one protester dead, more than 200 people injured, and 250 arrested.

A spokesman for the Scottish Human Rights Centre yesterday expressed concern over police tactics to restrict the movements of protesters.

He said: "The police have to allow peaceful protest and arresting members of the public at airports and ports before they actually get into Scotland is a huge concern, especially as they are only being detained on the assumption that they may cause trouble."



Hide the following 4 comments

particularly interesting 2 further Scotsman articles

13.02.2005 20:48

About the Dissent gathering in Glasgow:
"Radical groups gather to discuss tactics ... and golf"

About the international networking meeting in Tübingen facilitated by Dissent:
"Anarchists plot anti-G8 action as police prepare for 'extreme measures'"

MSP's to evaluate consequenses of G8 summmit for Scotland post-G8:
"MSPs to probe Scotland's role in G8 summit"

G8 section of The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News.


some more recent press from last week

14.02.2005 00:59


Summit siege threat
RADICAL groups are pledging to “lay siege” to this summer’s G8 Summit at Gleneagles,
Dave Lord.
08 February 2005

Civil disobedience and confrontation are proposed by members of the Dissent Network, while the affiliated Reshape group has spoken of a desire to make members of the G8 sweat with “more than mere shouting and placard-waving”.

Dissent Network describes itself as having no central office, no spokespeople, no membership list and no paid staff and, according to its website, has been founded with the purpose of “co-ordinating radical resistance to the G8 Summit”.

The Tele understands an “international planning, networking and co-ordination meeting” will take place in Tuebingen, Germany, later this month.

Apparently it is open to all interested in radical resistance to the 2005 G8 Summit.

The Dissent Network is, in its own words, “a mechanism for communication and co-ordination between local groups and working groups involved in building resistance to the G8, and capitalism in general”.

The group states that a confrontational attitude is essential, insisting mere lobbying is ineffectual.

It supports “direct action and civil disobedience”.

The affiliated Reshape group, based in Edinburgh, is described as “anti-capitalists and alter-globalists”.

A spokesman said, “We came together in early 2004 as rumours emerged that the G8 was going to take place up the road at Gleneagles.

“With the forces of global capitalism coming together in one place for the joys of golf, champagne and backslapping, dissent would be inevitable.

“What unites us is the belief that such dissent has to be more than mere shouting and placard-waving. It is clear this will only be met by patronising, dismissive media coverage, and by the feigned ‘understanding’ of politicians emphasising their ‘patience’ as they ride out their five minutes of pressure.”

The spokesman said the group wanted to make politicians feel “under siege”.

He explained, “In 2005, we want to make the champagne-sipping elite inside the G8 tent sweat,” he said.

“We want them to feel the vulnerability that billions feel each day.”

Tayside Police is in charge of the “unprecedented” security operation being mounted for the summit, and is being assisted by both Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders forces in Scotland, and by Greater Manchester Police and the Met.

Officers from all three Scottish forces have stopped holidays in the weeks surrounding the July 6-8 event.

Meanwhile, riot police have been receiving special training at the former Law Hospital, Carluke.

Tayside Police has been liaising closely with those living near Gleneagles, and plans to “search and seal” the area in the days leading up to the G8.


GUARDIAN - enen the guardian is using the same sloppy and innacurate stock phrase "50,000 protesters fought running battles with riot police in Evian and Geneva"....

Genoa, Geneva - now Auchterarder gears up for G8

Small Perthshire town looks forward to boost from Gleneagles summit, but worries about trouble that has hit previous gatherings

Kirsty Scott
Monday February 7, 2005
The Guardian,3604,1407244,00.html

Maggie Robin has been told that business will be booming when the G8 comes to town. They've said she might get some of world's most famous wives rifling through the racks of occasion wear and picture hats that line her Auchterarder boutique.

But Maggie knows frocks and she knows better. She knows you wouldn't come to a global summit without your wardrobe planned down to the last pair of pantyhose. "Well, would you?"

It's lunchtime at Bear Necessities in Auchterarder's high street. Outside, the mile-long thoroughfare that gives the town its nickname of the Lang Toon is dotted with people. An elderly man peers at a poster for a fiddle concert in nearby Blackford. A woman has stopped in her car to sketch the parish church. Neighbours chat on corners. In July, the small Perthshire community, population 4,000, will become the centrepiece of the G8 circus at the nearby Gleneagles Hotel.

Scottish ministers, and tourism and enterprise officials have embraced the event, which runs from July 6 to 8, as an unrivalled opportunity to put Perthshire on the map and reap a huge economic benefit. Hotels have been block-booked for the powerful and political, with the press left to fight over the last few, far-flung B&Bs.

Maggie's not so sure about it all, though. She remembers the chaos of Genoa and Evian and she worries for her town. "Basically, we are keeping our fingers crossed," she says. "We're used to having visitors from all over the world, but not all at once. This is a whole different ballgame and I think there is quite a bit of apprehension."

Auchterarder, which lies just off the main route north, has long been a staging post for kings and generals, who would stay in the great houses that lie at its edge. In 1715 it was burned to the ground by retreating Jacobites. Once the centre of a flourishing weaving trade, it is sustained now by tourism and farming. There are tea shops at every turn but no Starbucks, and the biggest brand name on the high street is the Co-op. The only fast food comes from the local chippies.

"There's no street cred in any of these protesters coming down and trashing a pie shop," says Fraser White, the G8 community liaison officer for Tayside police.

PC White insists the town won't be turned into a fortress, although everyone over the age of eight living near the hotel will need ID cards to come and go. "It is a difficult area to police," PC White says. "We have had major conferences before and it has passed off without any great problems, but this is the biggest security event since 9/11 ever to take place in this country. Things have changed and we have to police accordingly."

He has just taken a walk up the high street and reassured a woman who wonders if she'll be able to get her kids to the childminder when George Bush is having a power breakfast a few hundred metres away. But PC White doesn't think the townsfolk have quite grasped the magnitude of what's coming. "I think a lot of them don't realise how big it is going to be."

Recent G8 summits have attracted large and often violent protests. In June 2003, 50,000 protesters fought running battles with riot police in Evian and Geneva, and in 2001, a protester was killed by police and hundreds injured during riots in Genoa.

There is no reason to think the Gleneagles summit will attract any less interest. Anti-globalisation protesters from across Europe will meet in Tuebingnen in southern Germany this month to coordinate radical resistance to the event, and up to 200,000 protesters are expected in Edinburgh just before the summit for an anti-poverty rally.

"There are masses of people who want their voices to be heard yet again," says Gill Hubbard of G8 Alternatives, a coalition of anti-G8 campaign groups. But Ms Hubbard says there is no intention to cause trouble for residents around Gleneagles. "We want to meet with local people to show them we are not mindless thugs," she says.

"We are not a threat to them. That is certainly not what we are about. I really think there is a systematic campaign to label the protesters as violent. I don't think that the protesters are there to smash things up. What happens is the police come in heavy handed and start provoking people. That's when you get a situation like Genoa."

Next to Maggie Robin's shop, in Ortega's Deli, Chris Young is preparing for a run on his famous muffins when the crowds come to town. He is sanguine about possible disruption. "You can only look on the bright side of it. It's going to bring a lot of visitors. It's going to be mad for a few weeks. But I feel quite secure about the whole thing. I mean, we're not out to make a million in four days. As long as the local people love our deli and come back, the G8 is an extra. It is not going to keep us going for the next 15 years."

Maggie Robin agrees. She's not expecting Laura Bush to pop in for a quick browse, no matter what the enterprise officials say. She'll be quite happy if things continue just as they are. "We will be here long afterwards," she says. "Hopefully nothing much will change."


daily record

14.02.2005 01:04


Jill Hubbard

14.02.2005 13:34

Nice to see Jill Hubbard fulfilling the state's role of dividing protestors into passive (good), active (bad). Its all part of their training for when they enter government...when the revolution comes. oh yeah.

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